One mission I have accepted in life is to preach the gospel of good cocktails. Not drinking alcohol should never be the reason why anyone is stuck drinking bland overly sugary drinks. There are more possibilities when you are willing to do the work. This Blackberry Jalapeno Smash definitely is a good reward for hardwork.
Blackberry Jalapeno Smash
I recently did the work of restocking my syrups shelf in the fridge. This has given me the opportunity to enjoy making and drinking a variety of drinks. Restocking my syrups at the moment requires making simple syrup and a couple of herby syrups. Thai Basil syrup is on current rotation in my fridge. I am also digging some citrus-based syrups as well. For this Blackberry Jalapeno Smash, I made some candied jalapeno slices in syrup. One test drink later and this blackberry filled goodness is one of the mocktails I have found myself making during the COVID isolation.
One of the things I have had to learn how to do during this period is to grocery shop for a length of time. I am lucky because I live in the middle of 4 different grocery store chains and I have access to a couple of others a bit further out. Since I pretty much always go by a grocery store on my way home, I have taken to shopping daily. Plus, grocery stores are one of my happy places. A quick stop here and there during normal times was not a big deal.
Now grocery shopping is a production.
I have to make sure I have a face mask on. I have to make sure I have enough hand sanitizer in the car. At the grocery store, I often have to stand in line for about 15 to 30 minutes to get into the store. Doing all these things was making me fall out of love with grocery stores. Plus, the more I go out of my house, the higher my risk of getting exposed. So, I have learned to make a list and buy in bulk. Old habits die hard so I still always have an impulse buy or two, especially fruits and herbs.
Making syrups, jams and shrubs has been a good way of salvaging some value from excess food in the house. I quick boil some sugar and drop in the herb to seep. Strain it out into a clean glass jar and pop it in the fridge. In saner times with less food in the freezer, I had space to make ice cubes from my syrups. This allowed me to have summer goodness in the middle of winter.
Eating well and drinking well has become an important part of my daily routine.
On most days, it is a welcome distraction for me to focus on building memorable flavors on my plate or in my cup. Since I don’t imbibe alcohol, I have to be creative when it comes to crafting drinks. I am not a fan of mocktails that don’t have a depth of flavor. A drink, alcoholic or not, should not be a mere vessel for sugar into the bloodstream.
One thing I love about this drink is the range it has. The jalapeno syrup in this drink is layered with the pungent herbiness of the celery seeds and heat from the jalapeno. This adds a good balance to the fruitiness of the blackberry. The basil rounds out the delight without being overpowering.
If you are someone that likes your drinks smooth, it is possible to strain this before serving it. However, I find that layering the ice of the blackberry on the bottom provides a lovely filtration system. Of course, I just love how pretty the color transition looks in the glass.
Candied Jalapeno in Syrup
- 1 Large Jalapeno Sliced
- 1/2 tsp Celery Seed
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- Boil the apple cider vinegar, celery seed and sugar on low heat until the sugar dissolves
- Add the jalapeno slices into the syrup and cook for 5 minutes.
- Retrieve the jalapeno slices and put them into a clean jar.
- Reduce the syrup by a third. Pour hot syrup over the jalapeno slices carefully. Cover and let it cool down.
Blackberry Jalapeno Smash
- 4 Fresh or Frozen Blackberries
- 1 tsp Jalapeno Syrup
- 1 tbsp Simple Syrup
- 1 Basil Leaf
- 4 oz Sparkling Water Chilled
- Add the blackberries into a cup. Tear in the basil leaf. Smash the blackberries into a mash.
- Add in the jalapeno syrup and simple syrup. Stir.
- Top of the blackberry mixture with ice. Pour in sparkling water.